May 17, 2021

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National security advisor says Russia will face ‘consequences’ if Putin critic Alexei Navalny dies – Business Insider

3 min read
  • The US has threatened Russia with sanctions and other consequences if Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in state prison.
  • Last month, Navalny said he was going on a hunger strike in jail until he could see a doctor.
  • Navalny is recovering after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Russia.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Russia will face heavy consequences like sanctions if Alexei Navalny, a top critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, dies in jail, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.

“We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility and they will be held accountable by the international community,” Sullivan said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“In terms of the specific measures that we would take, we are looking at a variety of different costs that we would impose and I’m not going to telegraph that publicly at this point,” he added. “But we have communicated that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies.”

Navalny is serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for missing parole hearings while recovering in Germany after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in Russia.

Last month, Navalny said he was going on a hunger strike in jail until he’d be allowed to see a doctor.

“The right to invite a specialist for examination and consultation exists for every convict. Even for me, despite the fact that I’m not guilty,” he said on Twitter. “That’s why I am urging that a doctor be allowed to see me, and until that happens, I am going on a hunger strike.”

In a more detailed Instagram post, Navalny said he has been experiencing pain in his back, and has lost sensitivity in parts of his right leg and most of his left leg.

Doctors have been sounding the alarm, urgently requesting to see him. They warned prison officials that if Navalny does not receive proper medical care and treatment right away, he could die any minute.

At least four doctors have so far requested to see him. Navalny’s personal physician, Anastasia Vasilyeva, wrote to prison officials that his potassium levels were dangerously high, Insider’s Sinéad Baker reported, which might lead to devastating heart issues. 

“Our patient can die any minute,” cardiologist Yaroslav Ashikhmin said, adding that “fatal arrhythmia can develop any minute.”

Russian officials have said prison authorities offered Navalny medical care but he declined it because he wanted to see a doctor of his choice.

President Joe Biden this weekend denounced the conditions Navalny is subjected to in the Russian prison, saying it’s “totally inappropriate.” 

“It’s totally, totally unfair,” Biden said.

Navalny allies are planning mass street protests this Wednesday, Reuters reported. The protests, which Russian authorities have cracked down on in the past, will come the same day Putin is slated to give an annual state-of-the-nation speech, Reuters said.

Have a news tip? Reach this reporter at ydzhanova@insider.com

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